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Late to the Game, Honda Puts Autonomous Driving on the Fast Track

Japan's #3 automaker also ramping up electrification efforts.

by on Jun.08, 2017

Author Paul A. Eisenstein goes for a drive in Honda's Level 3 autonomous vehicle prototype.

Honda has long had a reputation for building solid, reliable and fun-to-drive cars and utility vehicles, but it has been slow off the mark in adapting some of the key, cutting edge technologies that are likely to define the automotive world in the decades to come. But that’s about to change, the second-largest of the Japanese automakers lifting the kimono as part of a media tour of its vehicle proving grounds this week.

Among the key revelations made during an opening session, Honda President and CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the carmaker has put its autonomous driving efforts into high gear in a bid to catch up with traditional rivals like Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen, as well as new auto brands and tech players, such as Tesla, Waymo and Uber.

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The Big Picture!

Honda will put its first hands-free models into production in 2020, although they will only allow autonomous operation on limited-access highways, with a driver at the ready to take control, if needed. Beyond that, said Hachigo, “We will strive to achieve the technological establishment of Level 4 automated driving for personal car use by around 2025.”

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Own Your Own Test Track

Honda puts its California proving grounds up for sale.

by on Jan.18, 2011

The Honda facility includes a variety of test tracks and buildings - as well as plenty of security.

It’s something no serious gearhead should be without.  And now you can own your very own test track.

Honda has decided to put its 4,255 proving grounds, in Cantil, California, up for sale.  But if you’re interested you better move fast.  The realtor is pushing the idea of converting the facility into a massive solar power facility.

The proving grounds originally were created “to implement a broad range of automobile, motorcycle and ATV vehicle and product evaluations,” explains realtor CB Richard Ellis.

Based out in the Mojave Desert, the Honda operation includes a huge 7.5-mile oval circuit, a 4.5-mile serpentine handling track and a number of smaller tracks designed to reproduce conditions as varied as public roads, race tracks and natural desert terrain.

It’s also put in place plenty of security, including berms to keep nosy spy photographers from getting too close with their long lenses, so privacy is a plus.

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